2011 in Reading: A Retrospective

Happy New Year’s Eve, EDIWTB readers! I hope you all have a wonderful celebration tonight and a great year in 2012. I know it will be a big year on this end, with a new addition coming in June.

Last year, Books on the Nightstand issued a challenge: read 11 more books in 2011 than you read in 2010. I took that challenge on, and am happy to report that I far surpassed it. I read 54 books in 2011, compared to 33 books in 2010. I’m happy about that number. I credit audiobooks, which allowed me to layer more books in during a month, despite my short commute. BOTN’s challenge for 2012 isn’t to add ANOTHER 12 to the 2011 count, but to choose 12 selected books – 12 non-fiction, 12 classics, etc. Or just 12×12=144 books (!). I’d love to repeat this year’s number, but I have a feeling that will be hard.

Here are my standout reads for 2011:

Special mention to debut author Susan Barr-Toman, whose When Love Was Clean Underwear I found to be an especially impressive first novel.

The theme of the year was: depressing subjects. The books I read spanned the following: the siege of Leningrad, war veterans and families, the horrors of life in Afghanistan and Pakistan, suicide, a Rapture-esque dystopia, kidnapping, unnamed diseases, autism, polygamy, bigamy, anti-Semitism, madness in the Amazon, adultery, amnesia, giving up children with Down syndrome, 9/11, slavery in America, child estrangement, missing parents, ghosts, picture brides and Japanese internment. Sheesh.

The breakdown:

  • 45 fiction, 9 non-fiction
  • 4 repeat authors during 2011: Katie Crouch, Khaled Hosseini, Tom Perotta, Julie Otsuka
  • 14 audiobooks
  • 14 male authors, 40 female authors

The silliest books I read were Save Me by Lisa Scottoline and Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal (but I enjoyed this one nonetheless).

Here’s to another great year of reading in 2012! What were your favorite books and reading  highlights from 2011?